The IOM said the bodies of six people were recovered from the sea while 29 others were missing and presumed dead.
At least 35 people are believed to have died after a boat capsized off the coast of Libya, the United Nations migration agency said on Saturday.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the boat sank off the western Libyan city of Sabratha, a major jumping off point for people from Africa trying to take the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean.
The IOM said the bodies of six people were recovered from the sea while 29 others were missing and presumed dead. It remains unclear what caused the wooden boat to capsize on Friday.
The IOM tweeted: “Continued loss of life in the Mediterranean is not normalized, human life is the price to pay for inaction.”
🚨 A small wooden boat carrying about 35 migrants capsized off the coast of Sabratha, #Libya yesterday. The bodies of six people were found while another 29 were missing and presumed dead. At least 53 migrants have been reported dead or missing off the coast of Libya this week. pic.twitter.com/XaM5waGp3M
– IOM Libya (@IOM_Libya) April 16, 2022
“Dedicated search and rescue capacity and a safe landing mechanism are needed to prevent further deaths and suffering,” said the United Nations.
A better life in Europe
Friday’s deaths are the latest linked to migrants leaving North Africa in search of a better life in Europe.
In the past week alone, at least 53 people have been reported dead or presumed dead off the coast of Libya, according to the IOM.
Libya has become a major transit route for migrants trying reach to Europe by sea since chaos erupted in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
For years, the United Nations and human rights groups have repeatedly warned that migrants in Libya are at risk of torture, sexual abuse and human trafficking.
Traffickers have in recent years benefited from the chaos in Libya, smuggling people across the oil-rich country’s long border with six countries. The migrants were then often packed in poorly equipped rubber boats and embarked on risky sea voyages.
Investigators commissioned by the UN human rights body have found evidence of the possibility crimes against humanity in Libya is committed to combating migrants held in government-run prisons and abused at the hands of traffickers.
According to the IOM, at least 476 people died along the Central Mediterranean route between January 1 and April 11.